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Damning by Faint Praise Dept: St. George Cane Juice Rum

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Capn Jimbo
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Joined: 11 Dec 2006
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Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:13 pm    Post subject: Damning by Faint Praise Dept: St. George Cane Juice Rum Reply with quote

St. George Agricole: an interesting California craft product...

St. George California Agricole looks like a mighty good product, despite the faint praise of the Prophet, as you will see. Here's why I am interested:

1. It is a rare American craft product produced by a respected craft distiller, St. George Distillery. The distillery is quite impressive(see link above). They make a considerable number of very unique distillates including gins (three, including a rye-based gin), absinthe, bourbon, eau de vies and liqueurs (from various real fruits and even basil) and - get this - even a single malt whisky. And oh...

A real and credible cane juice rum (aka rhum agricole). Impressive.

2. They own and operate a number of very impressive craft stills that include copper pot stills, modified pot stills and column stills. The largest pot still is 1500 liters, then a 500 liter, and last, he smallest pot still is their very first, 250 liters (made by the Arnold Holstein Company). It appears that most of their products (except the liqueurs) are distilled to tasty and proper proofs (43 - 46%). They've been around long enough to have stocks going back around 13 years (eg the Single Malt), and have been in continuous business since 1982. Impressive.

3. Their cane juice rum? Consider this: St. George makes their agricole from local, thin stalk sugarcane grown in the Valley. They state that the harvested cane is transported immediately to the distillery "where we extract fresh cane juice by running the stalks by hand through a sugarcane mill."

4. The fermented cane juice is then batch distilled in the 500 liter copper pot still and bottled. Per their description:

"Made from 100% California sugarcane, St. George California Agricole Rum (formerly Agua Libre Rum) is a pure, primal, unapologetic expression of fresh California cane. Intensely grassy, sultry, and robust, this rum is not for the faint of heart—but for those who love it there is no substitute.

And even among agricole-style rums (rums that originate from cane, not molasses), we know that ours stands out for its allegiance to the ripe, vegetal properties of just-harvested cane. "

Once again, impressive, yes? Not according to our butt kissing Martineqean Prophet who in response to a reader post, said something like this...

The Prophet cites his Rummy Godz...

" I know St George distillery well.... I hate to say it but if you're looking for the fresh sugar cane flavor of Martinique rhum agricole you're probably going to be disappointed but it's worth a taste if you can find one without having to spend $50 by the time you get past the register.

They are much more proud of their gin and other spirits for good reason."

This is called damning by faint praise, particulary when one is a rep for Monkeetikian cane juice rum. Let's parse this shall we? Of course.

St. George is quite clear about the both the fresh aspect and intense grassy flavor of their California Agricole, while the Prophet clearly says quite the opposite. Which should we believe? George's process - from using thin stalk cane with immediate transport, crushing, fermentation and distillation in yes, a rather small pot stil batch processl - would all support their version, not to mention their bottling proof of a hearty 86%. Keep in mind that Monkeetikian cane juice rum is the product of standardized column stills with some of them (St. James) occasionally using some stored cane juice honey.

When it comes to flavor, I'll take a skilled pot stilling every time. But fer gawds sake don't take my idiotic word for it! You must decide. To make matters even more weird, I've learned from long experience that to counter the Prophet, you need only look for and find yet another of his amazing contradictions. In this case it seems that St. George's Agricole has competed and won what?

Yup, a "Gold Medal". And where? Yup, in the Prophet's own Ministry of Rum Tasting Competition. Yup...

Go to Save Caribbean Rum Petition!
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Joined: 24 Jun 2015
Posts: 99
Location: Pittsburgh

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Received a bottle of this today and it is unlike anything I have ever tasted. Granted, I am inexperienced with this style of rum but this is *really* different than anything I have ever tried and I love it. It is pretty expensive at around $80 for the aged rum but *wow*, great stuff.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 5:06 pm    Post subject: Different but Good Reply with quote

Yes, this isn't like other rums on the market, but that's not a bad thing.
I had to put away my expectations of "rum" and evaluate it on its own merits.

This rum smells to me like black olives and is intensely vegetal. Cocktail-wise, I liked it a lot better in a "Martini" with vermouth than in a Ti Punch.

St. George is one of my favorite distilleries that I've visited. I respect their dedication to sourcing good-quality raw materials and allowing those materials to express themselves as much as possible in their distillates, even if sometimes that means the resulting product has unusual characteristics.

In fact, it's more interesting to see the amazing diversity that can result from fermenting and distilling when the distiller isn't trying to match a strict established style... or adulterate the product to conform to notions of what rum "is".
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